The organisation that puts together the top 40 singles chart in Britain, the Official UK Charts Company, is to compile an official chart of the UK’s most popular music downloads.
It’s understood the songs downloaded may – after a period of around 18 months – count towards the ordinary top 40 chart.
However, only songs paid for on certain legal subscription sites will count. The likes of Morpheus and KaZaa will thus be excluded.
Digital music service OD2 said it believed the download top 40 will be endorsed by the music industry.
It’s thought the move is designed to deflect sales from illegal sites by providing fans with an incentive to use their legal counterparts.
It follows news that global sales in music CDs, records and cassettes fell for the third year running.
2002 saw the sharpest fall to date with a 7pc drop in worldwide music sales, according to figures released by the International Federation of the Phonographic industry, largely due to music internet piracy.
By Suzanne Byrne